5 Big Stories

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published May 6, 2007

1. Housing market in freeze frame

Homebuyers sit on the sidelines after the Legislature deadlocks over soaring property taxes.

WHAT IT MEANS: Will property taxes be cut? And how? The struggling housing market is in limbo, waiting for a special legislative session next month.

2. Dow Jones & Co. becomes takeover target

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. offers $5-billion to buy the parent of the Wall Street Journal.

WHAT IT MEANS: The bold bid drives up Dow Jones' stock 55 percent and gives newspapers renewed vigor over their worth. But a dose of reality: most of the family controlling Dow Jones appears to be against the sale.

3. FCC comes to town

The Federal Communications Commission zeroes in on media ownership in a rare public hearing in Tampa.

WHAT IT MEANS: Regulators are putting a spotlight on media convergence, the pooling of news-gathering resources under one entity. Exhibit A: Media General, which owns the Tampa Tribune, WFLA-Ch. 8 and TBO.com.

4. HSN shoulders blame

IAC/Interactive stock drops sharply after warning that its St. Petersburg home shopping network is still in a funk.

WHAT IT MEANS: IAC chairman Barry Diller isn't known for his patience. That ratchets up the pressure on HSN chief Mindy Grossman as she marks her first anniversary on the hot seat.

5. Gas prices top $3

The average price of unleaded gas nationwide hit $3.012 Friday.

WHAT IT MEANS: Everyone knew this moment would come even as they hoped for relief. In the bay area, regular unleaded is in the low $2.90s on average. A bargain.